J. Michael Eugenio

SSW People’s Radio: Cook County Jail Detainees

This is South Side Weekly People’s Radio. Each week, we’ll post audio submissions we get from you. These can be about anything. They can be produced audio pieces, or they can be voicemail dispatches. They can be music, or they can be spoken word. For more information on how to submit, click here.

This week’s episode includes interviews from detainees at Cook County Jail, recorded on April 6 and April 7. Maira Khwaja of the Invisible Institute has been in touch with a detainee at Cook County who passed the phone around to several other detainees so they could share their stories with us. All of the inmates in this episode are being housed in the Residential Treatment Unit in Division 8, which means they each have medical conditions that require routine ongoing treatment that they aren’t currently receiving. We don’t know their real names and can’t fact-check their backstories. They’ve used pseudonyms here to protect against retaliation from the jail.

“Michael Scott” at 1:32
“Ezell Parker” at 4:00
“Kingston” at 5:35
“Mike” at 6:58
“Marcus Anderson” at 9:00
“Earl” at 12:57

On April 7, there was a car caravan protest to demand the mass release of detainees from Cook County Jail. At the end of this episode, we included a voicemail submission we got from Matthew Nicolas, who attended that caravan.

Here’s a list of groups that organized the caravan: A Just Harvest, All of Us Or None Chicago, American Friends Service Committee, Assata’s Daughters, Believers Bail Out, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Circles & Ciphers, Community Renewal Society, Equity and Transformation (EAT), Liberation Library, Love & Protect, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), The People’s Lobby, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), South Side Workers Center, Trinity United Church of Christ – Chicago, Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois, Westside Justice Center, Women’s Justice Institute and Parole Illinois.

This episode was produced by Erisa Apantaku. The bumper at the beginning was produced by Jed Lickerman.

1 Comment

  1. As a former employee at this jail for approximately 7-8 yrs, I know the mentality of these detainees. I’m an RN and know they get the best medication and healthcare. The recidivism rate is awful. When released, most are back within week or months. If released because of Covid, what makes us think there’s gonna be compliance with self isolation and last of all, look at the beating of the officers in div 9. I have little sympathy.

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